Hello folks! Sorry for the delay in posting!
So, back to our amazing trip to Galway and the surrounding areas.
So, in the evening on Day 3, we finally met Will Avery, head brewer and absolute lunatic over at Galway Bay Brewery. We had attempted to meet up with him last November when we were in Galway, but he was sick and we were unable to come tour the brewery.
This time around, Holly Kay and I were able to coordinate with Will, and we took my parents and Uncle Gerard to the brewery the next morning. (We were visiting Ireland with 16 relatives, so I asked Will the night before what a reasonable number of people would be, so that we wouldn't overwhelm them while they were, you know, working… He said "Give me six." We ended up with five.)
Will gave us a tour of the massive warehouse space that the brewhouse occupies, and it's filled with absolutely gorgeous stainless steel fermenters and mash tuns, and a large bottling line, churning out palates full of their incredible lineup of beers, including Full Sail IPA, Of Foam and Fury IIPA, and Buried At Sea Milk Stout.
That bottling line tho… Hi Dad!
After the tour of the brewhouse, Will took us over to another massive area of the brewery, occupied by large oak barrels, filled with what one can only imagine are magical elixirs to delight future imbibers at Galway Bay Brewery's flagship bars in Galway, Salt House and Oslo Bar (home of the original brewery, now home to Micil Poitin, run by the Mad Scientist Padraic O'Griallas).
Here's Will, standing next to a giant stack of magic barrels.
Will asked if we wanted to try some of the science experiment aging in those whiskey barrels, acquired from Teeling Irish Whiskey. And who are we to say no to that?
I won't tell you what was in those barrels, because we were sworn to secrecy, but I can tell you that it was unbelievably tasty. All 5 of us were able to have a small taste, and the response was overwhelmingly positive.
I love whiskey barrel aged beers because they take on flavors of oak, vanilla, and caramel (the same flavors I love in whiskey itself) and make an already great beer more complex and interesting. This brew was no exception. Super jealous of those folks who live in Galway and will be able to check out this beer once it comes out of those barrels.
These, I believe, were wine barrels, just another vessel to house Galway Bay's already amazing liquids, and to impart the flavors of the spirit that lived inside that barrel.
We had a wonderful time touring the brewery and watching Will and his team passionately working to create a labor of love. Thanks for letting us come by and share your passion for beer with us!
Later in the day, we booked a ride on the Corrib Princess, which is a 90 minute cruise on the River and Lake Corrib. The ride gives you access to historical ruins and gorgeous Irish landscape. It was a rainy afternoon, so we stayed inside the boat (mostly), but we had a wonderful time sipping Guinness, Irish Whiskey, and Award Winning (seriously) Irish Coffee with homemade cream. No complaints here.
The River Corrib!
Loading Dock at the head of the River Corrib…
Guinness x Jameson
Beautiful, rainy ride.
After our rainy, rocky ride down the River Corrib to Lough Corrib, we all went back to rest for a bit, and decided to do dinner at Oslo Bar, as we had yet to see our favorite wildman Alan O'Reilly (who you'll remember from our November Galway post!)
The brewing process, outlined on the wall at Oslo Bar
Family portrait at Oslo Bar (Alan was able to make his way into this photo, positioning himself ever-so-sneakily under Gerard, although he blends in so you'd never know he wasn't one of us.)
Alan was so hospitable (as always) and set us up with giant appetizers and flights of Galway Bay Brewery beer. This was one of my favorite meals of the trip, simply because Alan treated us like family. Thanks again, Alan!
After dinner, we ended up at Crane Bar for an unbelievable traditional music experience. We were surrounded by sound, as people from all over the small room began to sing and join in on the session.
A beautiful moment, as one of the regulars from the Crane Bar began to sing a cappella, it was contemplative and quiet, and yet, everyone was focused on this one man as he sang. It was true magic, and one of our favorite moments from the trip. Please click the link to check it out.
Thank you again to Will Avery and Alan O'Reilly for making us feel at home, and making Galway a place we can always come back to and feel comfortable and happy.